Top 50 Anime Series of the Decade

December 4, 2009

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Adolescence Apocalypse would be my movie of the decade

This decade is a very meaningful one for my anime fandom. I started watching anime several years ago so naturally, vast majority of shows I have consumed were products of this decade. And as much as I enjoy writing and reading about anime, ultimately my fandom is defined by my favourite titles, which inspire and move me to write about them in the first place. So to celebrate and remember this, here is my top 50 anime series that aired at some point between year 2000 and 2009.

This list is not objective/thorough recommendation of best anime series of the decade, it is simply for my personal list of  vaguely ranked favourite titles to be remembered. It is expected that I may not have watched your favourite anime, I may like anime you hate, and even possible that I may not like your favourite anime in the exact order you prefer. If you are open minded enough to accept this simple enough concept, then I hope you enjoy the read and maybe find some anime you might like.

Please note that this post is over 4000 words and 50 screenshots, so feel free to read only what you’re interested in.

50. Ergo ProxyErgo Proxy gets a lot of flak for being pretentious and I can offer no defense for it. What sold Ergo Proxy for me however wasn’t its philosophical nonsense, it was innovative direction of stand-alone episodes sitting within main plot. These episodes are truly outstanding in their unconventional methods of directing, simply brilliant examples of film-making in animated form. If you prefer atmospheric and artsy directions over solid writings and characters, give Ergo Proxy a try.

49. Tweeny WitchesTweeny Witches is one of the most imaginative and enthralling children’s anime you will find. No doubt some will leave disappointed by how simple and childish it turn out to be. I ask only to loosen that pessimistic outlooks we develop as adults before hopping on Alice’s broomstick, and look around with more whimsical and innocent sight. There is genuine feeling under that childish simplicity. There is unfaltering light beckoning behind Alice’s naive smile. And there is magic. Enjoy the adventure and all its wonders.

48. My-Hime – Although lacking as a whole product, there are key moments where My-Hime simply breathes of creative fire. Sometimes the animation and other technical elements can be so good, the screen gleefully dance in flames of energy. Very few anime can boast as much of excitement and intensity as My-Hime‘s best moments, and I am sure to revisit them again for thrills.

47. Kanon 2006 – The stories of Kanon 2006 sings is like a melody in Pachelbel’s Kanon. Each melody is sad, like a girl hopelessly trying to reach out for someone, but also hopeful for precious promises we make. Each melody repeats itself with varying tone, different pitch, different feeling. And each melody comes together as a beautiful orchestra of touching stories of the girls and their promises. Its beauty lies not only in each individual melodies but in how they are all linked together to produce more wholesome, heart-warming music.

46. Natsume Yuujinchou – Aesthetics of Natsume Yuujinchou is as pleasantly subdued as its story-telling, which can be like a refreshing breeze in summer heat, or the warmth of a hug in winter. Simple, funny, soothing and heart-warming. Such are the appeals of this wonderfully healing anime.

45. Ef ~ tale of memories – I have no fond of moe or melodrama. Yet I want to recommend ef ~ tale of memories to anyone who can appreciate anime as a medium capable of great artistry and story-telling. Innovative cinematography, engaging narrative flow, evocative symbolisms and Tenmon’s heartfelt music; these are the wings that elevate ef from the ruins of failed melodramas to soaring emotional flight.

44. Oh! Edo R0cket – Going to the moon by building rockets in Tenpou era? Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it. That’s because it is and the show knows it. Filled with self-awareness, humour and wit, Oh! Edo Rocket never misses a chance making fun of its own historical inaccuracies, as well as the idiocy of 2D drawn figures trying to be more than what they are; endearing characters in a beautiful story of hope and love. Funny thing is that we do fall for these characters by the end due to the kind of characterisation rarely seen in comedy series, and we can’t help but root for their hilarious attempt to reach the moon. Now that’s rocket science of storytelling.

43. Code Geass – There is little denying the sheer entertainment value of this unstoppable train. And what an exciting experience this was for me as anime fan! Sometimes speculating about future events, making fun of its ridiculous nature, or in my case, shipping CC x Lelouch and defending ‘HE IS ALIVE’ theory to the end. Although it isn’t going to win any award in my book, Code Geass offers an immensely fun and memorable experience for everyone.

42. Nodame Cantabile – How one’s life turns out arguably depends on one’s encounters with people. Although memories can imprison us, there is still hope of change through encounter. This is a humorous and well-crafted prelude to these two great musicians’ tale, a series of touching encounters and circumstances we will remember as Nodame Cantabile.

41. Kemonozume – “Neurotic, chaotic and everything in between, Kemonozume doesn’t simply break the conventional anime mold; it takes a sledge hammer and shatters it. Half of my brain is wondering what the hell I just saw. The other half can only think of one word: genius”. – Shadowmage

40. FMP: Fumoffu! – While I am not the biggest fan of Full Metal Panic franchise, FMP: Fumoffu! is an absolutely hilarious addition to anime comedy genre. Although not exactly high-brow,  I highly recommend it to anyone looking to kill themselves with laughter. As well as delicious fanservice.

39. Ouran High School Host Club – What impressed me the most about this little gem was its artistry. Art and animation here are free, ready to deform at any minute and materialising itself in wildly imaginative ways in order to bring humour and characteristics of what could be conceived as clichéd situations. Sprinkle an ounce of self-awareness with a pinch of emotional touch, and you have one comedy concoction that will please just about anyone.

38. Samurai Champloo – What an incredibly seamless fusion of Edo-period Japanese and modern hip hop culture! Whether it be breakdancing sword fights or exercising unique blend of graffiti and caligraphy, Watanabe Shinichi has not once failed to cook up something deliciously hilarious, stylish, enthralling and surprising each episode. Although lacking emotional and philosophical depth of Cowboy Bebop, one can not ask for more from such a harmlessly funny and exciting entertainment.

37. Red Garden Red Garden boasts some of the best voice direction in anime. Recordings were done prior to animation to allow voice actors to freely express character’s raw emotional states, and oh does it show when their words cuts like a knife.  Add to this elegant character designs, quirky animated expressions and atmospheric direction by Kou Matsuo (Kure-nai), Red Garden is the place to visit for a quality dose of feminine melodrama.

36. The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi – A marvel of both ground-breaking ideas and flawless execution. Not only did it consistently surprise us week after week with the unexpected, it not once failed to carry superbly with the highest degree of animation and directing quality, whether it be fighting a giant cricket in alternate dimension, or being blown away by the best animated musical performance ever.

35. Higurashi no Naku Koro niHigurashi is a fascinating mix of opposing elements. There is light-hearted joy in irresistably adorable smiles of girls, but underneath that crawls malicious suspense and horror. There exists supernatural forces, yet the bloody hands of each murder are all very human. The characters want to believe and depend on each other, but they become demons by succumbing to doubts and malignant intents. Between what is magical and real, cute and frightening, and their will to believe and deceive, what is left is that inexplicable sense of impending doom at hearing a cicada’s cry admist the sunset.

34. Baccano! – Watching Baccano! is like setting a pack of dynamite on fire. We are at first introduced to a fantastic cast of the most unusual and bizarre quirks and personalities, mostly unrelated to each other. But their roads become intertwined, and there is that indescribable sense of thrill, suspense and anticipation at watching different plots advancing towards one big explosive finale. If you enjoyed Guy Ritchie’s Snatch!, then this is one dynamite entertainment you don’t want to miss.

33. Toward the Terra – A painfully underrated space opera. Not only does Toward the Terra feature some of the best visual designs, the characters are as immense and endearing as its relentlessly propagating plot. A timeless epic that is sure to inspire and move anyone who stumbles upon it, for many decades to come.

32. Gunslinger Girl – If only every ‘girls with guns’ series was as mature and well-written as this. When introduced to the girls brainwashed and trained to assassinate without second thought, we can’t help but feel sorry for their cruel fate. And yet, also glad for their opportunity to savour happiness in playing violin, playing with dolls, eating gelatos, and just enjoying life as pure as young girls should. Such is the melancholic beauty of Gunslinger Girls.

31. Princess Tutu – Under the fine delicacy of Princess Tutu you will find astoundingly daring approaches to break standard conventions. What you will see is truly greater and more genuine than any girl-meets-prince story you’ve seen. I only wish that you can also experience the inexplicable delight of watching Tutu remain true to herself by dancing with her own strengths, which was infinitely more beautiful than any fancy magic or costume. After all, not every duck has to become a swan through magic, be it fairy tales or anime.

30. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Although not as exhausting and intense as Oshii’s movies, one still has to earn the right to appreciate GITS: SAC by being attentive to heavy dialogues and political intrigue. Once you jump over the hurdles though, you will be treated to a wealth of creativity and intelligence of Cyberpunk genre, as well as empathetic characters of the second season (2nd GIG).

29. Mouryou no Hakko – This series could not have picked a better title than Mouryou no Hakko (Goblin’s box). Its mystery can initially seem like a goblin-like entity, because anything we fear and don’t understand tends to appear supernatural. As we follow different stories written inside the boxed perspectives of each character, we actually become more lost and deceived by this intricately web of heterogenously mingled plots! The web is untangled one by one in the end, as each opened box reveals a truth more horrifying and disturbing than the last. A masterfully crafted mystery that will blow your mind.

28. Paranoia Agent – The premise of Paranoia Agent is fascinating in that it explores prevalent social issues present in today’s insecure and xenophobic Japanese society. And Satoshi Kon uses his renowned art of stepping in and out of reality/dream to paint horrifyingly vivid psychological visions of stress and the ways in which people want to free themselves from such paranoia. It’s a minor miracle that a man like Satoshi Kon even got to direct a TV series and it will be foolish not to indulge ourselves by watching Paranoia Agent.

27. Denou Coil – Possibly the most mature children’s anime you will find, Dennou Coil is cute, funny, charming but also surprisingly intense and dramatic. It has the emotional depth that is rarely seen in children’s anime, if ever, and I wholeheartedly recommend what is surely one of the finest animated production of this decade.

26. Gungrave – The portrayal of friendship and brotherhood in Gungrave is perhaps the most beautiful one in the animated medium. Between your ambitions, friends and families, which will you choose? Which are you willing to forsake to protect what you value the most? What endures at the end is that eternally lasting friendship, stronger than any metal and more beautiful than any flower in the world. This is The Godfather of anime and I can not recommend it enough.

25. Fantastic Children – Astroboy-like designs, soundtracks evocative of 80’s, classic narrative style and animated by the veterans of Nippon Animation studio, Fantastic Children is one fine trip down to old school animation. The fact that a story as epic as this went unnoticed by many is a tragic shame, since one rarely gets to encounter a story and characters as gripping as those in Fantastic Children.

24. Bokura Ga Ita – As you can tell from my list, I don’t like romance anime. Well, most of them anyway. Bokura Ga Ita was different. At first, like one of the characters, it was hard to feel for a girl who would still date a guy that beats her, cheats on her and stand her up. But maybe there is no need to know why you truly love someone, just as there is no reason to know why coffee is warm to enjoy its warmth. And boy did this romance know how to make me feel warm inside.

23. Sayonara Zetsubou SenseiChaotic would be an apt description of this outrageous comedy series. Do note that chaos is not randomness, it’s just that the comedy of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is so biting in black humour and relentless in pacing, it’s almost impossible to look at it with any semblance of order. Surely not for everyone, nevertheless it is easily my favourite comedy series of the decade.

22. Simoun – Aside from its complexity and depth, as well as some of the best designs, music and voice acting you will ever see in anime, it is also a mature look at Yuri in relation to our purity of adolscence. When these girls fly and draw beautiful lines in the sky, they are liberated from rules and obligations, and there is beauty to be found in their rebellious defiance, but also feelings that are honest and uncompromising. Simoun is, in a word, mystifying, and very few are as enchanting as its enigmatic world.

21. Casshern Sins – “Casshern Sins is visual poetry; evocative; melancholy; beautiful. This is when words are insufficient, it simply must be seen. Like ballet or wuxia, as if on stage, these characters spin, twist and jump, towards and around each other, every movement an indirect, evocative step forward, like feathers carried by winds of fate, blown across red pools and rocky desolation, secretly dancing to the soundtrack, transfixed by an insatiable desire to understand the other. It is emotion in action, confused, joyful, elegant.” – bateszi

20. Banner of the Stars – This sequel to one of the greatest space opera series (Crest of the Stars) has lost none of its charms. Subtlety governs just about everything here, including character interactions, humour, space battles and even fanservice. Banner of the Stars find it crass in explicit display of brutally butchered soldiers screaming horribly in pain, it much prefers to let silent cries of lost souls resonate under the quiet surface, ever so softly, but with a resounding ring of longetivity. Classy, philosophical, but not without its own share of witty humour and heated conflicts, the Stars Trilogy is a must-see for every fans of space opera.

19. BECK: Mongolion Chop Squad – Although a little unpolished in visual and engrish department, no anime can rock as hard as BECK can when it comes to a coming-of-age story (aside from FLCL). Pleasantly surprised you may be when treated to a number of electrifying performances, BECK‘s forte is still characters, and the show never misses a beat developing them to their fullest. You will learn to get annoyed with them, but also like them, love them as they grow, and rock with them harder than ever before.

18. Hataraki Man – A career can mean many things for different people. Sometimes a passion, sometimes a burden, and maybe bit of both. Hataraki Man thoroughly explores a fascinating microcosm of working people in Japanese society, giving generous amount of screen time to every single characters to capture their unique quirks, personalities, histories and most importantly, their perspectives and decisions regarding their work and life. And with consistently solid animation, flawless narrative flow and the level of maturity and sophistication rarely found in anime, one could not ask for more from this absolutely brilliant silce-of-life series.

17. Shigurui – Violent manga-to-anime adaptations are rarely better than its predecessor, simply because the animated violence can almost never triumph over the meticulously painted scenes we envision in manga. Shigurui is a miraculous exception to this in that the Madhouse studio managed to breathe life into the repulsive, yet absolutely captivating world of cruelty without losing an ounce of the original’s vigour. Shigurui sings song of merciless brutality, but does it with a voice of an alluring siren, and any hard-seasoned viewers sturdy enough to stomach gratuitous gore will be treated to an enrapturing symphony of disgust and pleasure.

16. Koi Kaze – The very premise of Koi Kaze is outrageous. How can you seriously expect anyone to swallow a romantic relationship between a 27 year-old salaryman and his 14 year-old sister? You don’t have to swallow it because Koi Kaze makes no statement. Doesn’t endorse nor condemn incest in modern society. There is only sense of desire and longing; of feelings that are beautifully transcendent, and woefully temporal. It saddens me to know that no anime like Koi Kaze will ever be produced for another decade or two.

15. Boogiepop Phantom – Forget the complexity of Evangelion or FLCL. With a timeline randomly jumping ten times each episode and nameless characters looking pretty much the same, this is by far the most difficult and demanding viewing one will likely encounter in anime. Beneath this enigmatic puzzle however remains grim tales of defeated hope and tainted innocence, as well as that fleeting desire to escape reality, and be lost in blissful memories of the past. Boogiepop Phantom is a confusing puzzle of haunting beauty that is sure to be treasured for many sturdy viewers.

14. The Twelve Kingdoms – One thing The Twelve Kingdoms excels over Serei no Moribito is its clear sense of direction and organisation, which brings together all the subplots and orchestrates them in an explosively dramatic finale. Sadly The Twelve Kingdoms still remains an unfinished masterpiece. It’s promising second arc was suddenly dropped and never picked up again, while its final arc pales in comparison to its previous arcs. Nevertheless, the first arc is an incredible character-driven journey of our heroine’s rise to leadership, while the third arc is an epic building of this compelling world as well as its fantastic characters. Perhaps its fictional world was always to be fragmented like Coleridge’s Kubla Khan, forever left unfinished, yet never to be forgotten once we do enter it.

13. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is very much like a drill. It starts out small, yet eventually spiraling out into something much more epic in scope and intensity. What’s even more impressive is its ability to capture a non-mecha fan like me, who usually complains about ridiculous plot holes and transformations, to vigorously kick reason to the curb and lose myself in the thrill of watching Simon and his friends beating the impossible. Animated by stylish Hiroyuki Imaishi (FLCL, Dead Leaves) and written by Kazuki Nakashima (award-winning playwright), TTGL has power of the drills that pierces through logic and strike at our heart, shouting blood-boiling cries of who the hell do you think we are.

12. Kino’s Journey – Kino’s Journey is less of a criticism and more of a tribute to human imperfections. Some things in this world, like massacring a group of innocent people for sport, are repulsively ugly. But the world is beautiful because of it, for if the children they gave birth to and held in their arms weren’t precious enough, would they have willingly killed all those innocent people for the children’s sake? Such is the beautifully grim nature of Kino’s Journey, utterly thought-provoking and enchanting journey into celebrating our imperfections.

11. Kaiba – Franz Liszt once described Beethoven’s delicate second movement of Moonlight Sonata as a ‘flower between two chasms’, which sat between its haunting first and relentless third. One gets a similar melancholic impression from Kaiba in that, despite all the depressing aspects of this futuristic world stripped off its humanity, we still find tiny sparkles of hope driving the series. Finding warmth and light at the edge of coldest and darkest places, watching Kaiba is a pleasure more than divine.

10. Aria – No anime can heal like Aria can. Serene, joyful and impossibly cute, it is a bliss to find beauty in even the most trivial things through Akari’s aqua-tinted lense. It’s too easy to become cynical in our real life, if only more people could visit Aqua and learn to appreciate tiny wonders around us. Now wouldn’t that make our world a brighter place to live.

9. MONSTER – Like a fine wine, the beauty of Monster lies in slowly savouring every moment of its deliberately sluggish narrative flow. Caring efforts are given to build up suspense, intrigue and terrifying revelations in each side story, but the series never loses its focus, for every mystery threads are weaved meticulously together in an explosive finale. MONSTER is a truly fitting title for this uncompromising beast, for we are rendered helpless at the mercy of its unbearable atmosphere, and the terror of its psychological drama.

8. Gankutsuou – A novel-to-anime adaptation of the highest distinction. It re-wrote half the content of Duma’s timeless classic, re-worked the setting of 18th century Europe into futuristic world of aliens and spaceships…and still came out absolute winner. A majestic amalgam of sheer ambition, innovation, visual ingenuity and technical brilliance. Give in yourself to the majestic flight of imagination it takes, inviting you to a visually and emotionally enthralling ride of something different and more refreshing to the novel. Gankutsuou is a monumental proof that adaptations aren’t always doomed to be cast as fading shadows.

7. Mushishi – To watch Mushishi is to drift into lucid dream. The world is rendered strange and bizarre, yet everything feels so beautifully integrated as a whole, it can not be described as anything other than sublime. Mushishi talks of abstract and surreal, yet we take them to our heart and leave mystified and enlightened. There is not a sense of ourselves watching this dream so much as ourselves in the dream. When we do wake up, there is only longing for return. And why not, Mushishi is the most absorbing and gratifying dream one will likely have.

6. Infinite Ryvius Lord of the Flies of anime, only better. An incredibly intelligent and detailed look at the limitations of different political systems in the time of crisis, and although not as thoughtful as that depicted in Legend of the Galactic Heroes (which is impossible anyway), what is truly commending is its remarkable ability to capture fear, desperation, malice as well as hope of characters struggling to survive at the brink of demise. In a sense, Infinite Ryvius is an antithesis of Bokurano because nobody is willing to die, and the series sets this desperate search for hope into soaring emotional flight. Truly one of the most dramatic and intelligent anime one will find.

5. Mononoke – What a truly menacing beast of visual phantasmagoria! Boasting colours and textures so rich one might as well feel the series with eyes. Mononoke has undoubtedly the most uniquely beautiful designs and engrossing art direction of this decade, and its masterfully crafted mystery will crawl inside your skins, inch by inch, before the terrifying truth materialises itself tearing you apart limb by limb. Blissfully affecting as it is beautiful, Mononoke is this decade’s greatest truimph for aesthetics in anime. I am sure to hold this gem precious for many years to come.

4. Haibane RenmeiHaibane Renmei is an enigma. There is no finding out what’s behind the Wall, and no hints are given about the nature of haibane or the origin of just about everything in this perplexing world. These questions do not need answering however, for Haibane Renmei sings of wisdom and beauty too elusive and immense for our comprehension. A truly special place is Haibne Renmei, where we can spend an eternity swimming in a pool of thoughts, or losing ourselves in its rejuvenating warmth.

3. Planetes – Planetes is nothing short of masterpiece, it’s just so incredibly written and directed. What I loved the most about it was its mature, intelligent and emotional approach to the theme of love and understanding. In one scene, a scientist looks at the earth and shed his tears at remembering his country ravaged by civil war. “All we can see is earth, and even when you can’t see any borders from here…”. Perhaps more people need to look at earth from the above, because the truth is we are all connected together, and the only universal language that connects us together is love. Planetes is one of very few stories to actually make me feel that way.

2. Honey and Clover – One could spend an entire evening trying to find a four-leafed clover with friends without success. And the characters in the series struggle and run, defeated from broken relationships and mistakes that can’t be undone. It’s painful to watch. And yet there was meaning to searching for that special clover, fleeting moments that are as elusive as they are beautiful. Watching Honey and Clover is to discover layers upon layers of overflowing affections, to know that there was meaning to all those unrequited love and failed endeavours right here. All you can do is cry your heart out, bite the sandwhich, and savour it all with its bittersweetness.

1. Now and Then Here and There – The lesser I say about this series the better. One only needs to experience it. What I do want to note is that there is a shot of orange sunset that is absolutely beautiful. What a lovely scenary it would have been, if I did not know the sufferings it concealed. This is an adventure of a boy transfigured into horrors and affirmations of human life, where we are left to helplessly despair and rejoice at the worst and best of human nature. Boundless in its raw emotional power, Now and Then Here and There is my anime of the decade.


159 Responses to “Top 50 Anime Series of the Decade”

  1. chii Says:

    wow what a great read! Really enjoyed this decade list!

  2. Shevonne Says:

    Wow, you put a lot of thought into this! I’m going to definitely add some of these to my Netflix.

  3. I love all these retrospectives that’ve been popping up in the anime blogging community lately. It’s just a warm and fuzzy feeling to reflect upon all the excellent titles and groundbreaking moments that molded the medium over the past decade. I definitely plan on giving my considerations as well, once this especially grinding semester is finally over.

    But yeah, it’s a lovely list. I haven’t finished reading every entry just yet, but I did give the whole thing a cursory scan. For fun, I tried to see how many Top 10 titles I could predict ahead of time, just to see how well I know your tastes. I managed to nail 6 out of the 10, for what it’s worth.

    Originally, I figured it to be Kino, Mushishi, Kaiba, Aria, Mononoke, NTHT, Planetes, Casshern Sins, H&C, and Dennou Coil. Not too bad, considering two of those are literally right outside your Top 10. I thought for sure either Aria or Kaiba would’ve been first though. Oops. 🙂

  4. Oh yeah, I’ve also seen 35 out of the 50 on your list, but I expect that to change in the near future.

  5. If all the decade lists that are popping out have confirmed one thing, it’s that I need to finish Planetes. The little that I’ve seen of it has been very enjoyable as the characters just gel together really well.

    Interesting that Mononoke is on there, but not Ayakashi. Think you can comment on how far the gap is between those two series?

  6. Martin Says:

    Well, I’ve seen 17 of those, have six in varying stages of ‘on-hold’ (you make me want to finish them) and a few more that I want to see after reading what you said about them here.

    My personal faves from this list would probably be Mushishi, Gunslinger Girl and Haibane Renmei but there are some others that I also really appreciate…Dennou Coil, Natsume Yuujinchou and Paranoia Agent deserve more attention than they seem to get from a lot of people.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing this list. I might bookmark it for those times when all new anime seems like formulaic rubbish…there ARE plenty of good shows; hell, many of them stand up well to rewatches anyway!

  7. Kim Says:

    An excellent list and you have most of my own favorites included here.

    One thing though as much as I love Now and Then Here and There (it’s one of my top favorite series) I’ve always considered it a 90’s series since it premiered in 1999. But I guess I am just nitpicking.

    But Honey & Clover which you have as number 2 is also a definite favorite of mine. 🙂

  8. I’ve seen almost half of those, though maybe 5 of which I haven’t completed yet, and 10 I’ve dropped for some reason or another.

    Since this is a subjective exercise, I find myself disagreeing with many points — but the content of my disagreement is of no great importance. I take more pleasure in the care you’ve put in constructing this list, it’s lack of robots (though it has a pretty effing hueg one) notwithstanding ^_^

  9. coburn Says:

    Lists! For some reason whenever I read the entries for the most popular shows on your list (including the ones I like) my brain set to work quibbling over their relative positions and merits, whilst each shoutout for a relatively neglected winfest that I happen to be fond of was a pure and happy event. I always come away from articles like this more interested in picking up the Fantastic Children types of show than the Honey & Clovers of the world.

    It might also be interesting in a strongly boring way to feed your list into a set of graphs re. release date/popularity in the fandom at large/viewing figures. Although that kind of project would quite possibly spoil the whole thing.

  10. bateszi Says:

    Well done on writing this; I’m staggered by its length, yet you’ve fired me up enough to perhaps write my own! (Thanks for quoting me, too!)

    I think something like this is ultimately really personal, and the more idiosyncratic, the more interesting they read, so I definitely agree with coburn when he notes your mentions of the more obscure series; seeing Infinite Ryvius up there was awesome, as was Fantastic Children and Gungrave.

    Anyway, it’s clear how much effort went into this. And it was worth it. A great post, gaguri.

  11. schneider Says:

    I’ve only watched half of these, so thanks for bringing up the other half.

  12. Baka-Raptor Says:

    The best show of the decade is missing, not just from your list, but from everyone else’s. I’m going to have to fix this.

  13. animekritik Says:

    I’ve seen only 5 in your list, that’s 10%. Gah, there’s so much anime to watch!!! I love the way you set this post up, too!

  14. karasuba Says:

    Please do 1989-1999. It would make me so incredibly happy.


    I’m going to use this list for all my friends. I don’t think I’ve ever agreed so wholeheartedly with someone’s top 50.

  15. gaguri Says:


    Glad to hear it ^^


    Thanks, I hope my recommendations can be of some help.


    I’m definitely looking for your take on the decade, don’t have to be as ridiculously tl;dr as mine though (haha…).

    And I guess the nostalgia played big factor here, since Aria franchise and Kaiba finished only this/last year. Perhaps I need more time for it to grow deeper.


    Do watch Planetes, you won’t regret it. Early episodes are more light hearted and humorous, but the later episodes are nothing short of brilliant.

    As for Ayakashi, it is unfortunately an anthology made up of 3 distinctly different series. Ayakashi-baka neko arc (Which is prequel to mononoke), is even better than mononoke, BUT…the first two series is just mediocre. So my recommendation is, if you plan to check out either Ayakashi, skip the first two arcs and just watch the last bake neko arc. Then watch Mononoke!


    One thing I realised when making this list was that, despite what naysers complain, there are LOT of good stuff made this decacde. I even had to eliminate many other memorable titles, painfully. Do visit this page again whenever the currently airing season bores you, maranothing old gem nearly always truimph over following a number of ‘kind of ok’ shows.


    Heh, you know we share a fine taste =)

    As for NTHT, I made a rule before making this list. The rule was that (think i said it at top) the series had to air some point between year 2000 and 2009. I mean, if I was making this kind of post in year 2000, I’m not sure if I would have included NTHT simply because I haven’t even finished watching it. This is why series like Bakemonogatari/Aoi Bungaku/Trapeze are excluded because they aren’t complete. Another rule was that no ova/movies, so naturally no FLCL, le portraite de petite cossette, utena movie, etc…

    But anyway, list isn’t a bible so, NTHT= my anime of the decade it is! ^_^b


    Don’t worry ghostlightning, I know your immense affection for robots, so it’s all ok. It’s just my list after all, not trying to shove it down other’s throat as the decade’s best. But since we do have some common interest, although few, (such as honey clover, ttgl, bakemonogatari, shigurui, aria etc) maybe you would like to just scan briefly over this page whenever you feel like the current season is lacking =). Maybe you’ll find something you’ll love.


    Yes, o do i love lists! I too like working over other’s lists, and changing their rankings inside my head, it’s kind of interesting exercise. The thought of recommending only the underrated series of the decade (and not universally accalimed titles like Mushishi and Honey Clover) did cross my mind, then I realised that would be dissevice to myself. Personal list it is!

    And although the graphs would look interesting…too much work!


    Thanks, that means a lot! I was going over my post on Casshern, and when I read your quoted passage, I just said, ‘damn, I just HAVE to use this part for Casshern Sins’. I tried not to steal other people’s words when writing this out (although I stole plenty from my previous articles) though, because that’s just lazy. And glad to hear that I inspired you, I can’t wait for your take!


    You’re welcome =)


    We expect nothing less from our manly non-pedolicious dinosaur.


    The way I structured my post is mostly copied from psgel’s format, but glad to hear it looks nice anyway! Anyway, I know we have quite a differing taste, but I’m sure there are eccentric titles in my list that are sure to entice your beautifully strange mind.


    That makes me very glad inside, thanks for the kind words ^^.

    I unfortunately haven’t watched enough to do 1990-2000 :(, but if you’d like I can recommend a few series:

    Serial Experiments: Lain, Cowboy Bebop, Violinist of Hamelin, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Crest of the Stars, Berserk, Escaflowne.

    Yep, not even enough to make top 10 list…

  16. […] The decade is ending, and gaguri inspired me to publish my own list, simply because above everything else (that is not human), I […]

  17. Sasa Says:

    I have only seen 32 of your shows, but that makes sense since I only started watching anime seriously in fall 2005 and many shows on your list are actually older.

    Anyways, I can’t believe NTHT is number one either, hahaha. That’s so unexpected!

    @Martin: It’s too bad that I posted my list already, or otherwise I’d ask what you think my top 10 would be, heh.

  18. 2DT Says:

    If anything, the sheer length of this post and the slow realization that this doesn’t even begin to scratch what has been airing over the past ten years helps me understand what a golden age we’ve been living in.

    Just so you know, I read everything. Cheers.

  19. kadian1364 Says:

    These lists are fun for discussing our preferences and reflecting on and sharing our experiences during the decade. Because our individual experiences differ, extensive lists, like this one that’s 50 titles long, always showcase new and interesting series to different people, and highlights the fact that there are always more great shows out there to discover.

    But then there’s the flip-side: despite variances in personal tastes and histories, once you’ve seen many titles and consume anime at the rate we do, we repeatedly find certain series find their way onto multiple lists, and only slight differences in top 10s or 15s. I think it shows that there’s some deep human element in these common series that appeals to audiences universally.

    As for me, 29 completed, 6 others seen some portion of. Although personal lists are largely arbitrary in placements, I’m pleased to have seen all of 12 of your top 13 anime series of the decade, with Mononoke being watched currently.

  20. kadian1364 Says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot to say, this is a great post. Really, I have to say thanks, since reading something like this validates for me that this little niche medium is something worth loving and obsessing so much time over. Huge props for picking NTHT, that’s one anime that’s not talked about enough nowadays. Actually, any of your top 4 would’ve been a nice pick in my book.

  21. gaguri Says:


    Well some people here probably would have guessed NTHT to be my #1 (since they knew me before I entered blogosphere), but otherwise I guess it can be a surprise, since I don’t talk about it too much. And that’s a nice list you have there too, will comment more on your blog~


    Well…I hope I at least scratched surface of this decade. I’d hate to think I missed that much quality titles, it would hurt my terribly elitist ego! Other than that, you have my many thanks for reading everything up there, that’s quite a feat. Not sure if I even want to read all that…


    You’re the best, thanks for such kind words ^_^

    “But then there’s the flip-side: despite variances in personal tastes and histories, once you’ve seen many titles and consume anime at the rate we do, we repeatedly find certain series find their way onto multiple lists, and only slight differences in top 10s or 15s. I think it shows that there’s some deep human element in these common series that appeals to audiences universally.”

    Exactly. While I believe that some anime just can’t appeal to those outside its targeted audience (i.e. if you don’t like experimental anime you probably can’t enjoy Kemonozume, or if you hate shounen anime then you are 95% likely to hate naruto), there are those that have the power to reach all heart. Well, most of them anyway. Sometimes it’s not about what we know, our taste, our preferences. Sometimes works can be so powerful, they exceed, they go beyond, they unchain who we are, and just make us become one with its world and characters. Well, that’s the only way I can vaguely explain the universal appeal of titles like Honey Clover and Mushishi.

    “I’m pleased to have seen all of 12 of your top 13 anime series of the decade, with Mononoke being watched currently.”


    And I just want to add, I am so thankful how you have all been respectful to my personal preferences (I actually expected some to drop in and attack the list). Although it took me a quite a while to make this post it was totally worth it, thanks guys. Do feel free to add any particular titles that you would have liked to see in the list, it may serve as a good recommendation for me to watch in future.

  22. muhootsaver Says:

    I didn’t expect GITS SAC to score so low ^^ I was actually looking for FLCL, but I realized you are only including TV series. Anyways, it’s an interesting list. I think you have a quite diversified taste in anime.

  23. gaguri Says:

    Well considering the quality of titles it was up against, I think GITS SAC did ok myself ^_^b. I try to be open when it comes to different genres and styles in anime, although I guess I haven’t quite reached the core of mecha/shoujo/shounen yet.

  24. vendredi Says:

    11/50 of these shows seen. It’s nice to see though that a fifty strong list isn’t difficult to fill out; grognardly types would have you believe that anime is on the downward bend but a list like this illustrates that there are still quite a number of very creative works still happening.

  25. Kitsune Says:

    Oh wow, this is a very long and detailed post! Thank you for this write up! 🙂 Also I like your choices of screenshots 🙂

    I have not seen all anime on this list, but the ones that I especially enjoyed are Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Kaiba, Monster, Mushishi, Mononoke, Haibane Renmei, Now and Then Here and There. I especially agree that the latter title deserves one of the top places 🙂 Possibly my favorite anime of the decade is still airing, but I’ll reserve my final judgment till the end of the series 😉

  26. […] came across gaguri and Sasa’s Top 50 Anime of the Decade list the other day. For some people, a top 50 of the […]

  27. gaguri Says:


    50 wasn’t difficult at all, and that’s not even counting movies and ovas! This decade has been filled with titles of high innovation and technical merits, people just need to look in the right places before they complain about the lack of quality.


    I’m guessing your favourite of the decade is Kemono no Souja Erin? Not a bad choice at all =D

    And yes, more people need to watch Now and Then Here and There….

  28. […] Top 50 Anime Series of the Decade by Gaguri […]

  29. omo Says:

    Great list. You weren’t kidding about taking your time writing up a lot of stuff 😉

    Saw 40/50 on your list, but that includes 5 that I dropped half way and 1 that I’m in the middle of.

    What can I say, great list. I think you’re spot on and I really have no bones to pick besides that in some cases, the manga is way better (see: Monster).

  30. gaguri Says:

    Ah, I actually read Monster manga as well. I also think it’s masterpiece, but imo anime did a splendid job too. I can’t imagine anime adaptation to be any other way, different experience compared to manga, but just as intensem complex and engaging. Still, I’m impressed that you managed to watch 40 from that list, even if you dropped a few.

  31. foomafoo Says:

    I haven’t finished Now and Then yet but it intrigues me, the fact that it is set in a dystopia. I was discouraged to watch it though because of it’s slow paced story telling.

    I really agree on how you described Aria. 🙂

  32. Kavik Ryx Says:

    Gaguri, I’d never thought I’d say this, but this decade actually rocked. For all the saturation of crap over the past ten years, it’s amazing how many genuine masterpieces we have had. Though personally, I would have gone with Mushishi or Planetes at the very top. Not that NTHT is bad or anything. But it is so good to the point that I find it impossible to enjoy (GODDAMMIT what a painful anime to watch)

  33. Cello Says:

    I’m glad Boogie Pop Phantom got a place on your list, I seem to be the only one I now who loves that series. I am also shocked by the lack of FUll Metal Alchemist love or Cowboy Bebop?

    Regardless I appreciate the time and effort you put into this post and I hope you have enjoyed the (only 6 so far) tv series reviews I have posted on my site. Have a great week ^_^

  34. TheBigN Says:

    I’ve seen episodes of 35 out of your fifty shows here, and even in ones where I’ve only watched just two episodes, it hasn’t been because I lost interest in continuing them, but because I haven”t had time to do so.

    Great list, and I never even thought about how you ranked the shows. It’s just that it felt right that the shows were on the list in the first place.

  35. elt Says:

    Excellent list, but am I the only person who likes Death Note? Not even an honorable mention? And nobody mentioned it in the comments (so far) either? Personally I’d put it in my top 10, at the very least.

  36. gaguri Says:


    Do keep watching NTHT, it’ll be more memorable than you can imagine!

    @Kavik Ryx

    And since I have yet to watch other numerous awesome titles, yes there are plenty of quality in this decade. And NTHT is indeed a painfully cruel anime to watch (far more than bokurano), but the juice is worth the squeeze.


    I really liked FMA, but let’s just say I didn’t like it enough to include it on the list…and Cowboy Bebop began and ended in the year 1999 IIRC. And thank you, you have a great week too!


    Haha thanks. And good to hear you’re keeping yourself busy.


    My opinion of Death Note is that, while it had interesting premise, and its key moments outstanding, I thought it was inconsistent in terms of its overall quality, and lot of times I was just bored and frustrated. But I have no problem with people putting it up on their top lists, since I can understand it has such a profound impact on them.

  37. Joe Says:

    You forgot Sola, the story is stunning.

  38. […] Favorites: 2000-2009 I can’t really post 50 titles, as I have barely seen 50 titles from all time periods combined!  Also, looking through the list, I’ve kinda figured out that […]

  39. potsdamned Says:

    i was really thinking death note would be in the top ten…

    anyways, ill give some of these a try

  40. Flash Sword Irene Says:

    A mentioning of Samurai Champloo and not telling about the awesomeness of the epic as hell baseball episode as a reason for greatness? Blasphemyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! XD (Yes, this is my favorite comedic-type of anime episode ever). In anycase, it is an interesting list and I am glad to see someone not put something like Haruhi or Code Geass as absolute number 1 of all time. Still, the question of the universe and to life’s mysteries is how in the hell did you find time to do all of this? This must have been a project in the making. Either that, or you are godly my friend.

    Well, it is not time for me to hail you as “mein Kaiser” LOGH-style. But, I wonder how this list will evolve if it does at one point in time. It will be interesting to see alright.

  41. Suion Says:

    Hello friend. Why is there no clannad or elfen lied in that list? Just thought I should ask.

  42. raito-kun Says:

    Great list, I agree with you for the most part. What I’m missing, though, are some of the major mecha series of this decade (like Eureka Seven, Rahxephon, King Gainer, Gaiking, etc.) which brought together lots of talented artists. Anyway, you mentioned above that you aren’t a mecha-fan, so that’s understandable to some extent, and at least you have Gurren Lagann in your list (which would probably be the number 1 of my list).

    And nice to see that you didn’t forget some of the more meaningful anime of this decade (like Mitsuo Iso’s Dennou Coil and Masaaki Yuasa’s series), therefore the anime that advanced the art form in some way or did something new.

  43. gaguri Says:


    No I didn’t, I just didn’t watch it.


    Death Note didn’t make my list but you’re still free to try my recommendations.

    @Flash Sword Irene

    Haha, that baseball episode. That’s one of my absolute favourite comedy moments too (few moments from FMP: Fumoffu rivals it). And yes, this was an on going project, although lot of it was copied and pasted from my previous writings, so my workload wasn’t as bad as I first thought (bit lazy though). I’m sure, as you might’ve guessed, the list would evolve as I watch more anime made from this decade, but I won’t be changing the list of course.


    Multiple choice question, choose one or more from the following:
    a) they sucked
    b) i didn’t watch them
    c) i didn’t like them as much as my other 50
    d) same reason why 1500 other anime titles of this decade didn’t make the list
    e) this was a pretty damn stupid question


    Haha thanks. I agree, titles like Eureka 7 and Rahxephon are pretty big titles, but then again this is my favourite list, which is why Code Geass is up there and not Noein or Seirei no Moribito (I’ve seen both but didn’t like as much as others).

  44. Matej Says:

    I would add Last exile and Kenichi 🙂

  45. Matej Says:

    Full metal is great, but Bebob and Trigun should be on top 50(last 20 years).

  46. Matej Says:

    i.e. if you don’t like experimental anime you probably can’t enjoy Kemonozume, or if you hate shounen anime then you are 95% likely to hate naruto –

    but not hunter x hunter(loved it)

  47. […] Jahrzehnt. Eine sei jetzt schon genannt: gaguri hat auf seinem Blog Ha Neul Seom (하늘섬) seine fünfzig besten Anime des Jahrzehnts zusammengestellt – klasse Lektüre, weil er nicht nur sehr viele auch recht obskure Anime […]

  48. Trent Says:

    Nice list, thanks for taking the time and care to write it 🙂

  49. toni Says:

    @ raito-kun
    Raxhephon was just a blatant Eva rip-off, it doesn’t deserve a place in this list

  50. Ningyo Says:

    wow, just needed to give kudos for compiling a hierarchical list of one’s top 50 series in an entire DECADE. Must’ve been damn hard.

    Incidentally, you had 50 comments here as of before this one =p

  51. gaguri Says:

    Well the the ‘hierarchy’ is only a general idea, not absolute =D. Anyway, thanks for dropping by!

  52. lelangir Says:

    Not sure if grandfather clauses work for anime..but didn’t now&then ZOMG IT USED RAEP AS A PLOT DEVICE?!!?!?

  53. Retro Says:

    I tip my hat off to you for compiling such a wonderful list. I knew I was in for a treat when I saw the Utena movie first off. It’s well researched, and it’s obvious you know your stuff. I don’t really write comments on things like that, but I just saw your list after seeing another top fifty anime of the decade list. And their list, well, left a /lot/ to be desired.

    Hope you continue with your amazing taste for many years. ❤

  54. gaguri Says:


    not really sure


    Thanks ^^. And yea, Utena movie really is amazing.

  55. Louie Says:

    Why no Kaiji or Akagi?

  56. Juan Carlos Says:

    I guess it’s fine…I find myself disagreeing mostly with the reasonings involved, quite a few of which I consider a bit disingenous or exaggerated, as opposed to the actual titles included, but I don’t feel like criticizing or flaming right now. Though I probably should do that elsewhere or at some other time.

    I’ll just quietly shrug and move on.

  57. Vasodeagua Says:

    Although I miss some of my favorites, it’s a great list.

    Defintely, I will try to watch some series that I just discovered (or rediscovered, mostly).

  58. gaguri Says:

    Great, makes me feel like my efforts were worthwhile =)

  59. thelolrockgeologist Says:

    I’ve already responded to plenty of these posts, but I’m quite late in responding to yours. I must say it’s a shame, because out of all of them, I consider yours to be the most reflective. It is also the one most resonant with mine. We share no less than 6 (!) favorite titles. This post convinced me: I’m now gonna become a permanent lurker of this blog!

  60. […] in following the footsteps blazed by gaguri, and wishing to join those who have put their thoughts forward, I present you my list of twenty […]

  61. […] on the blogosphere here, and our good friend gaguri, from Ha Neul Seom (하늘섬) has posted his Top 50 here, which I highly […]

  62. gaguri Says:


    Awesome, hope you de-lurk sometimes to drop some words though!

  63. Izumacaro Says:

    Oh MY GOD! 100% agree with you. You put in the list Planetes, Now and Then Here and There , 12 Kigdoms (people always forget them!)

  64. gaguri Says:

    Everyone should watch them, no exceptions =)

  65. anon Says:

    Why is Code Geass on the list but not Seirei no Moribito or some other series or movie of genuine merit?

    Other than that, it’s a respectable list.

    Lack of moeshit is always a plus.

  66. Sinisgood Says:

    Great list! With the exception of a couple titles, there is isn’t one on there (that I’ve seen) that I didn’t greatly enjoy. Everything on the list that I haven’t seen all sound great, and is a nice reference for what to watch next.

  67. Joe Says:

    So much here to explore and come back to, probably enough to keep me entertained well into this decade. Fantastic list, a good service to everyone.

  68. gaguri Says:

    Not sure if I want to feel happy about having this post keep referred in /a/.


    Because it’s 50 anime I enjoyed the best, not 50 anime I think ‘is’ the best.


    Glad to hear it helped =)



  69. […] been rolling out their top 50 lists over the past few weeks. A quick glance at Mono no aware or Guriguriblog reminds me of just how little I’ve seen and how I could easily spend the rest of this decade […]

  70. UMPCman Says:

    This is an outstanding list. I’ve probably added 20 shows to my “must see” list, and the couple that I’ve gone through so far have indeed been excellent.

    Thanks for this!

  71. gaguri Says:

    Weee people still read this post~ thanks =D

  72. Jack Says:

    This a very interesting list, and I have looked up a few shows because of it. I’m surprised that you dont mention Manglobes ‘Michiko To Hatchin”, but I hear that show didn’t go down well with everyone.

  73. gaguri Says:

    Glad you liked the list!

    As for Michiko, I actually haven’t seen that show on anyone’s ‘top decade list’, I know it has some royal fans, but I guess it didn’t have the popularity of other shows.

  74. Jacks Says:

    It’s one of those shows that wasn’t really made for the traditional anime audience I guess. It seems to be marketed to the West with it’s non Japanease setting but lots of anime fans couldn’t really care less. Which is bad luck for Manglobe as it was clearly a very expensive production.

    I believe alot of people were turned off by it’s largely female set of characters – but they weren’t cute enough for the main fanbase, isntead they’re more well rounded individuals. It’s an excellent show, sadly overlooked, that I feel people will come back to with time and go “Why wasn’t anyone interested in this?”

  75. lostty Says:

    This is a really good list, I am definitely going to check out some of these titles!

  76. gaguri Says:

    Please do~

  77. Atmosphere Says:

    I’ve completed 29 of the shows. Am currently watching Ouran and Toward the Terra, have Higurashi on-hold. dropped Samurai Champloo and have been planning to watch quite afew of the titles for some time now.

    Overall, it’s a strong list. Alot of the series you listed would also be on mine, I liked the variety throughout. Though, I would have definitely included titles like Texhnolyze, NANA, Windy Tales, Kamichu and Bartender.

  78. gaguri Says:

    Oh dropped Smaurai Champloo? I thought it was one of the series almost anyone can like. O well. If it’s any help, I can say that Higurashi won’t change much later.

    I’m definitely expecting special from NANA, and I’ve never heard of Windy Tales so thanks for the rec!

  79. Atmosphere Says:

    Yeah, I just found SC to be kind of bland. The characters didn’t do anything for me. NANA has a few shortcomings but it’s still an excellent anime and is actually my favourite. Since you’re an Aria fan I think you’ll defnitely love Windy Tales. I dunno if you’ve seen Texhnolyze but I read on here that you like cyberpunk and I consider Texh the best piece of cyberpunk that I’ve seen to date.

  80. Jack Says:

    I just finished up ‘Hataraki Man’ and ‘Natsume’. What an amazing couple of shows.

    This list continues to deliver.

  81. gaguri Says:


    I did watch Texhnolyze and gave it 6/10 BUT I will admit that I probably didn’t give the show a fair go. At the time I don’t think I was really in a mood for heavy stuff, and I’m not sure why but my file was corrupt and the audio was bit inconsistent. I think I’ll give it another go sometime. I loved Serial Experiments Lain, and I think they are similar in a way.


    Those two shows are indeed awesome, although I wasn’t quite as impressed by Natsume as many people. And yes, my list delivers mwahahahaha

  82. kitsune Says:

    After listed as your recommendation I just finished viewing “Fantastic Children”! Talk about underrated, it was very entertaining though the ending was a bit of an “Ohhhh” (disappointment moan) for me. Still it was as intriguing as reading a fantasy novel (for young adults?). Quite epic yet modest. Makes sense considering the studios that partook in it.
    Sorry, thought I’ll share my thoughts coz I have noone else to talk about it:P. Thanks for the recommendation!

  83. gaguri Says:

    No problem! I don’t think there’s a place to rant about a series like Fantastic Children, so glad you dropped by to voice your appreciation! Terra-E isn’t as awesome as Fantastic Children but it too is ‘retro-modern’ piece of animation, both epic and modest.

  84. Kaikyaku Says:

    Hey, I just recently discovered your blog and especially this list and it’s a great find. I’ve seen 15 of your top 50 so far and I have another 6 qued up to watch next. I don’t always agree 100% (I didn’t care for Gankutsuou or Infinite Ryvius) but it’s great to see my personal top three on the list (Monster, Juuni Kokki and Haibane Renmei). You have excellent taste 🙂

  85. gaguri Says:

    omg it’s Kaikyaku how are you sweetie ^^

    There’s also that Tatami Galaxy you said was interesting, don’t forget that.

    And yes, our tastes are indeed excellent~

  86. Kaikyaku Says:

    I’m very well thanks 🙂 I did have a look for Tatami Galaxy but I haven’t found it at my usual sources. I’ll keep looking but I think I have enough anime to keep me busy for a little while yet. Next up: PlanetES

  87. gaguri Says:

    Ah PlanetES, you won’t be disappointed, that much I can promise.

  88. Curryp Says:

    I personally think all animes involving ABe Yoshitoshi’s would be in this list…

  89. nhyn Says:

    thank you for this list. I wanted to cry when I saw Infinite Ryvius, Fantastic Children, and Now and then here and there. brought back fond memories when anime was still sooo good! i remember approached those series with doubt (seriously, no one I know ever heard of it then), but my, was i wowed. They are still my top 3 favorites, even though Haruhi was amazing and Full metal alchemist made me cry (! i know!oh god…). if there was ever a life-and-death debate about whether anime merits as a serious art/cinematic form, i’d use these series for evidence – i’d win! thanks again ❤ i'm just really happy to find someone who appreciates these gems.

  90. gaguri Says:

    glad you like them too!

  91. Curryp Says:

    Me again,I discovered Kaiba thanks to your site. I’m now in debt with you ! 😉

  92. gaguri Says:

    That makes me feel all warm inside, Kaiba needs more love it deserves~

  93. Croaker Says:

    The absence of series like Naruto or Bleach is a sure sign that this list has merit 🙂
    I have browsed through lots of so-called Best-of lists and so far yours is among, if not, the best.

    Thanks to yours and other lists like this one, I discovered some real gems such as The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, Gankutsuou, Kabai and Ergo Proxy.

    I am a little bit sad to see House of Five Leaves unmentioned here, though. Freedom, Garden of Sinners and Requiem for the Phantom are also pretty good, imho.

    Thank you for your great work!!!

  94. gaguri Says:

    I’ve browsed through lots of lists too an I too must say mine is the best fufufu

    Knowing that people are discovering gems because of my recommendation is the greatest reward for the time and effort I spent in writing so thank you.

    I haven’t heard of Freedom or Requeim for Phantom, so thank you very much for mentioning them!

  95. Raka Says:

    Has anyone ever said that you have impeccable taste? I am basically working through your list (not in order) as my introduction to anime, and I have yet to be disappointed. For example, Haibane Renmei affected my emotions more than any other movie or TV show has done. Thanks for your list.

  96. Jack Says:

    Just finished Simoun. People have written more about that show. It deserves a lot of articles.

    That’s a show I can’t imagine convincing others to watch though. For serious viewers it looks like a dumb fanservice show, and for fanservice viewers it would be too serious.

    Well, hopefully it’s one of those shows that people will still remember years from now, even if no-one watched it.

  97. gaguri Says:


    Yes my taste is pretty impeccable when it comes to anime 😀


    only time will tell my friend~

  98. ten Says:

    u forgot macross frontier..

  99. Reki Says:

    Still recovering from watching Honey and Clover. Left me speechless. I think I’ll watch Aria next. I have Mononoke in my possession but it kind of scares me.

  100. […] Come on. Try harder than that. Every single show in this list is worth watching, and half the time, they're superior to most of western animation and serial shows. Start from top […]

  101. otaku131 Says:

    Wow, great list, very well written.

  102. theSilence Says:

    From quite some time i have been following this list…
    Except for the odd show that was not really of my taste and didnt finished seeing (i am looking at you Oh edo rocket and Ouran High School Host Club), i am only missing Tweeny Witches, My hime and Kanon… and i have only to say… wow… just wow…
    The series that are included here are all a gem by themselves… and the variety of genres is just one more incentive to watch them all.
    Sure, there are some that are missing (House of the five leaves, Durarara), but every single piece will leave you speechless when you finish it… and you will not really be easy with yourself until you finish all the seasons of each one of the shows ( as many of them have 2-3 seasons with slightly different name that the one in the list )
    Is definitely a list that every anime fan must complete

  103. gaguri Says:

    *blows the dust off this old blog to answer some comments

    “Is definitely a list that every anime fan must complete”

    I agree!

  104. […] Haibane Renmei sings of wisdom and beauty too elusive and immense for our comprehension. A truly special place is Haibne Renmei, where we can spend an eternity swimming in a pool of thoughts, or losing ourselves in its rejuvenating warmth. [Guri Guri Blog] […]

  105. grv Says:

    nice list… but shame there was no basilisk, ninja scroll, akira, ghost in the shell (original movie), or most notably, neon genesis evangelion.

  106. ahreembentley Says:

    This is a pretty great list. I have enjoyed watching a lot of your recommendations. But why isn’t Cross Game on here. I’ve just finished watching that show for the second time and it was just as enjoyable as the first go round.

  107. gaguri Says:

    Thanks, it sure is a great list if I say so myself. Cross Game isn’t there because the list was made in december 2009 while the show finished sometime in 2010.

  108. […] Top 50 Anime Series of the Decade by Gaguri […]

  109. ahreembentley Says:

    I tried watching Bokura Ga Ita but found it a little too sappy and mawkish. In your comment you said you don’t really like romance anime but I adore Toradora and if you just swapped out Bokura Ga Ita for Toradora this list would be one step closer to prefection. Toradora finished airing in March 2009 so it would fit right in on your list. Other shows I recommend: Welcome to the NHK, Spice and Wolf, Kamichu, Flag, Bonen no Xemdou, Black Lagoon, and Birdy the Mighty. And once again: a great list that would be in the number one spot on my top ten top anime series of the decade list list. But think about putting Toradora in.

  110. gaguri Says:

    Toradora is a great romance title, and Kamichu! is just wonderful. It’s too bad I didn’t watch them before I made this list.

    I haven’t watched NHK, Bonen, Flag.

    I think Spice and Wolf, Black Lagoon are great anime on their own right, but I would have to think twice about putting them on the list, just my preferences. Anyway thanks, I too think this is a great top list haha.

  111. Hannah Says:

    i really dig your tastes as well, gaguri. i’ve only seen 13 from this list, which are predominantly the experimental/surreal series that typically don’t get much love from otakus. i just finished NTHT and i must say i really quite adore this one. the first half of the series was a little irritating due to redundancy, but the legitimacy of the latter half made up for all that. i noticed you don’t have ghost hound on here. i watched the first 12 episodes back when it came out and dropped it. would you consider it something worth finishing? my favorite anime are mushishi, kaiba, kemonozume, haibane renmei, neon genesis evangelion, serial experiments lain, genius party, and paranoia agent. with this information, could you kindly recommend some anime to me?

  112. gaguri Says:

    i haven’t watched ghost hound so can not help you there.

    as for the recommendations, hmm. I think you can give Boogiepop Phantom and Texhnolyze a go. In a way they have things common with Lain.

    Kino’s Journey also might suit your taste. So will Mouryou no Hako if you liked Paranoia Agent.

    Planetes is also simply amazing, I haven’t yet seen one person dislike it.

  113. Niharika Says:

    I have to say, none of the animes I’ve watched and loved are on here (except Mushi-shi) and I sosososo happy about that! Because now I’ve got about 49 series that sound so wonderful to watch, so thank you! You put a lot of work into this list and it was exactly what I was looking for.

  114. Azmera Says:

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on these animes. I was glad to find a couple of my favourites or ones I’ve watched in order to compare what you think about them in comparison with the rest. I look forward to finishing watching some that I have skipped over and others you have opened my eyes to.
    Well done and thank you.

  115. Minamoto Satori Says:

    What about Beat Angel, Shikabane Hime, La Portrait de Petite Cosette, Soul Eater, Durarara!, PaniPoni Dash, Michiko to Hatchin? (Come on; how could anyone have possibly missed MICHIKO TO HATCHIN??) There are literally tons and tons more amazing Anime out there (one might wonder whether it’s too much for one person to cover) that I can imagine you having missed lots of them. Still; there are some titles that are clearly must-sees for every Anime enthousiast on any level and you have so conveniently mentioned some of them. For that I thank you.

  116. Danica Oracion Says:


  117. bluethorns Says:

    i am sad that fairy tail did not make it to the list

  118. Robert L'Verty Says:

    best list I’ve seen mate, very insightful about the decade and you have taken out popular favourites and evaluated as a true critic to the anime genre. Found it hard to pick the wheat from the chaff but you have done it so well congratulations. I rank you as the david and magnet from the movie show in your critical response so take that as a compliment from Australia mate

  119. There’s definately a great deal to find out about this issue. I like all of the points you made.

  120. Alex Says:

    I love you for including Gankutsuo and Planetes but most of all Kaiba, an anime far too little seen and such a fitting description of the tone of the story and it’s almost transgressive and mediative feel. Also I love the fact that you placed Kaiba next to Kino as I feel they are both extremely similar works of absolute melancholy and enlightenment, the purest of Japanese fiction with the likes of Muishishi and Honey and Clover

    But one question.

    Where is Fullmetal Alchemist? I respect your opinion and all but I wonder why this is not on many peoples list despite it’s immense popularity. FMA for me is the absolute best of anime. It has something for everyone and is one of the most heartfelt stories ever told in the medium. Even though it’s essentially shonun it displays such a high level of maturity in almost every facet of it’s story with some of the most human and realistic characters set in the backdrop of brilliant fantasy and all depicted through the eyes of 2 young brothers. I could praise FMA all day since it is quite possibly my favourite story ever (I know thats a bold statement) it’s not perfect, the tone can be inconsistent, there is filler, some humor falls completely flat but all of the criticism I could rile against series just disappears under how human a piece of fiction it is. I am almost on the verge of tears when writing about FMA and I would like to hear what you have to say against it and your reasons for not including it.

  121. Haleigh Says:

    Why isn’t Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over/Before Flowers) on the list? Yeah, the Jap and Korean dramas are pretty cheesy, but the manga itself was AMAZING and the series translated the story just as well. The musical anime movie was meh. But just purely on an anime and manga scale, it definitely deserves to make the list for doing a classic story (rich guy falls for poor girl) with hilarious and dramatic twists that pull on the heart strings and tickle the funny bones of viewers/readers.

  122. gaguri Says:

    I haven’t watched Hana Yori Dango.

    From what I remember, because it was a very long time ago, I greatly enjoyed FMA. It’s enjoying a lot of popularity it deserves from loyal fans for being such a great anime, and I think that’s good. I just happened to find something more interesting from other titles that others might have not heard of (such as Kaiba).

  123. Alex Says:


    Thanks for the reply, I wasn’t doubting your opinion or anything, more asking of your opinion and giving my two cents on the show (Glad you like it) as well as complementing you on your list.

    Just out of curiosity, what are your favourite anime of the 90’s?
    You seem to have a vast knowledge of under appreciated anime and would love to know of your opinion of the best of that era, not a huge list or anything, more a small sample (possibly including your top 3 Favourite/best) as I enjoyed this list so much and will be referring to this list in the coming years.

    I know it’s a big ask and you may not want to as you might be saving that for another list or whatever but I just had to ask.

    Again thanks for making this list,


  124. gaguri Says:

    Oh boy 1990s, haha. I haven’t watched too much of 90s because I started out as a fan of 00s, but my favourite definitely have to be Cowboy Bebop. Another one I like very much is Crest of the Stars. This is only counting the TV series, not ova or movies. There is one series from 90s I want to watch sometime, and that is Martian Successor Nadesico.

    As for the list of anime I’ve watched so far, here is the link~

  125. Smash Says:

    I’m so glad to see Naoki Urasawa’s Monster and yet has a high rank on the list. Animes on this list, I would put them in the same cateogry since they are for older watchers. No shonen animes like naruto, bleach, detective conan, Inuyasha

  126. Quatrei Says:

    I was excited to see deathnote on number 1 while scrolling down but when I got to the end of the line… wtf… I tried ctrl+f but only found the word in the comments section. I love your list but I can’t believe deathnote isn’t there

  127. Quatrei Says:

    just saw your reply to elt… hmmm not sure what you meant by inconsistency, I think the overall quality of the anime is great. well, my opinion as you said. although the intensity kinda fell a bit when you know who died

  128. quinn Says:

    iv read alote of top anime lists but non as good as yours thanks

  129. this list truly sucks without one piece naruto dragon ball z yugioh and bleach its useless

  130. cencoroll Says:

    no one asked you. if you don’t like it shut up
    at least respect the fact that someone took the time to make it

  131. Linnah Says:

    I’m so glad Honey and Clover was on and was so high on this list. I actually shivered a little when I saw it. I love love love this anime and it is truly the most beautiful, most honest story I’ve seen told.

  132. huisos Says:

    wat about elfen lied ..

  133. laws Says:

    Fuck it the way you describe it makes me wanna cry so many goods ones and the way you said it. 1. Now and Then Here and There- the way you explained how well this anime was I burst I tears. Either you are a reporter that’s epic with much experience or your a person that copies qouets.

  134. hi!,I like your writing so a lot! share we keep up a correspondence extra about your article on AOL? I require a specialist on this space to resolve my problem. May be that’s you! Having a look forward to look you.

  135. Bourney Says:

    Seriously? No dissenting opinions regarding Planetes? It’s #3 on your list, are you kidding me?

  136. Rob Says:

    Nice to see a fair list different from the average fever fanservice trash that’s around out there. I have watched all but two or three titles of this list and can see a consistency of qality all way through.

    I’d be interested in know your top of this decade so far. I really felt deception with anime these years and stopped following, I’ve been wandering if I’m missing something. For example, that type of “smart” humor (whic is not smart) mixed with fanservice/echiiness that seems to be everywhere with series like Bakemonogatari aren’t really my cup of tea.

    Looks like you’re not around anymore either, that’s a pitty too.

  137. billy and son Says:

    where is to love ru and kanon and green green and clannad and

  138. billy bob harper Says:

    i haven’t seen half of these animes do you think i should whatch any of these at all or should i try other ones need help deciding

  139. Etchedface Says:

    Hmmm. I have seen 49/50 of this list and I will say that I condone it. But, I disagree with about half of it at the same time.
    A lot of these I would put in my top 100. But not my top 50. However there is 3 here that I wouldn’t put in my top 100.
    – Samurai Champloo
    – Ouran High School Host Club
    – Red Garden

    Anyway there’s my thoughts.
    It is still a good a list though. Glad to see some different selections.

  140. Etchedface Says:

    I take that back. I was being a little harsh on Red Garden.

  141. Veethorn Says:

    Thank you for providing one of the most interesting top anime lists I have ever had the pleasure to read. Many of my favorites are there, Ghost in the Shell, Kino’s Journey, Gurren Lagann. Seriously great great list. I’d like to leave here my top 50 anime series list as well which you can find at, I would appreciate all the feedback as well. Thank you so much again for this list.

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  143. Watch Anime Says:

    Aw, this was a very good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a very good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

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  145. SnK Says:

    It’s difficult to find well-informed people for this subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  146. SnK Says:

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  147. cat Says:

    Wow !! That’s a lot n they all sound good

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  151. Ralph Says:

    Code geass isn’t going to win any award in your book. rofl Apparently the award givers don’t agree with you. And Baccano is at 34. There is something wrong with your rankings, but there are a lot of anime’s I’d like to check out.

  152. NoZerone Says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned this. Wolf’s Rain. Back when it first came out I could only catch random episodes that left me confused. Once I was able to actually watch all the episodes I fell in love with it. From the opening credits, and the great song that was chosen for it. The way they introduced the characters and showed how they all came together. The complicated endeavor they were all on, when the idea behind it was so very simple. Characters that you grew attached to, which made the ending so so much harder to go through. To this day, out of all the Anime I have watched, Wolf’s Rain is on of my favorites. It was easily better than Gunslinger girl. Don’t get me wrong, that was a pretty good anime, but it was mostly sexy characters fighting each other. I liked it, the sexiness and the story. But Gunslinger girl felt like an average anime that could have been better if they hadn’t of put so much effort/time into giving a large amount of fan service.

    Then there was Cowboy Bebop, which could or couldn’t make this list depending on how you look at it. It came out in 99, this was posted in 09. But this was posted in Dec, where as Cowboy Bebop came out in April.

  153. ichimaruwaqas Says:

    Wonderful list , I watched Now And Then Here And There it was really emotional engaging anime ever loved Haibane Renmei as well

  154. Guaporense Says:

    One of the very few great top lists in anime/animation in the english speaking internet.

  155. noamis Says:

    Fantastic list that I keep returning to for suggestions! I’ve been browsing your other pages too — It’s a shame that you don’t appear to be writing anymore, I’ve loved reading your thoughts.

  156. ikki Says:

    No Basilisk
    Death Note
    Hajime no Ippo
    FMA: Brotherhood
    One Outs
    Ookiku Furikabutte

    You gotta be shitting me.

    Also I thought Shigurui sucked big time.

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